'Honey Boo Boo': It's not a Bachelorette Party without silkscreen tees and a stripper bus

Since its premiere last summer, Honey Boo Boo has been picked apart by national news sites and cultural critics quick to bemoan its apocalyptic impact. Will an overweight Southern family usher in the End of All Things? "I WOULDN'T SAY THAT, BUT NOT FAR OFF," whisper-yell the keepers of society. Back on Earth, HBB is a show about simple people celebrating simple things (most prominently how to microwave spaghetti) that doesn't give two clucks what anyone, let alone some stuffy critic, thinks. There's no message; there's no point. Can't that, in and of itself, BE the point? HBB offers more laughs each week than many advertised comedies; more real family emotion than almost any drama, save Parenthood. None of these other shows have the benefit of a character named Pumpkin, but still -- HBB can entertain with the best of them. Let's not mistake the well-constructed diversion in front of us by for a Biblical prophecy come to life.

...After all, we might miss a night of His and Hers BACCCCCHHHEEEEELLLOOOORRRRRR PAAAAAARRRRRRTTTIIIEEEESSSS.

Mama June's Trip to Wild Bill's

The lady of the house knows exactly what she wants to do at America's Largest Dance Club and Concert Hall, and it's "tear the f**k out the frame" with 8-10 of her most boisterous lady friends. You need a translation? The Mama June crew's itchin' to get BUCK.

The montage format with which every storyline is edited on this show limits what we see of Wild Bill's, but based on the quick shots we get - which include major-league shots at the bar - I think we can say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. No hand without a drink. A sea of "I'm with Mama June" baby tees on the dance floor. At one point, MJ found her way on stage to grope a guitarist. He seemed cool. "Once I get my body in motion, there's no stopping it. I feel the beat, and it overtakes me."

There's more! After stumbling out of the dance club, the ladies made their way to a mysterious bus idling nearby. Mysterious, that is, to anyone who's never boarded a STRIPPER BUS. The fake fireman inside may have been tired after a long day putting out fake fires, but that didn't stop him from getting to the ol' bump and grind. Not even the awful hare krishna knot on his head could ruin an excellent routine. One of MJ's friends loved it so much she just had to make it rain. Repeatedly.

Mama June's assessment: "I think I had more fun than Sugar Bear"

Sugar Bear's Trashcan Fire Pow-Wow

Yeah, Mama June probably had more fun than her fiance. But Sugar Bear, the All-American Man, was never in it for that. His idea of a perfect evening? "Sit around, shoot the fat, have a good ol' time." Shugie & Co. knocked it out the goddamn park.

Lighting a firewood-stuffed trashcan containing about a gallon of lighter fluid was the craziest thing the guys got up to, and that's okay. Shugie wasn't there to lose his mind. Shugie was there to talk about COMMITMENT. "Now I've been a renegade for a while, right? Just ready to tie myself to one woman." The guys practically snapped in agreement, so touched were they by the emotions pouring out of their buddy. One of them added his two cents. "The way they bitch and all...I still love 'em. Wouldn't trade mine for the world."

(A note - after hearing the names of some of the wedding guests about a month ago, I was disappointed not to see Boxcar, Catfish, or Nibblet at either of tonight's celebrations. Not that "Doode" and "Dusty" are chopped liver, those are good names too, but you get your hopes up sometimes.)

Before long, almost all of the guys had gone home -- direct to their wives, who they love with all their hearts -- and those that remained were too tired to do much except lean back on their trucks and stare into the sky. "Is this Heaven?" I asked the small video window on my computer. "Yes. Yes it is."

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